If there's a holiday somewhere, chances are that Clevelanders will celebrate it. Take Kentucky Derby Day. At SoHo Kitchen & Bar, plans for the big bash are already under way.
"We're hoping to turn Derby Day into an annual thing," says chef-owner Nolan Konkoski. "We want it to be a big deal — a big party with free food, lots of booze, funny outfits, and the horse race."
So from 4 to 7 p.m. on Derby Day — that's Saturday, May 5 — the restaurant will offer complimentary samples of Kentucky-themed classics including burgoo (a hearty stew), hot browns (rich, cheesy, open-faced sandwiches), and Derby Pie (chocolate, nuts, and bourbon) — all with a modern SoHo twist. Beverages, while not free, include a number of flavored juleps.
If the weather cooperates, the bash will also serve as the restaurant's official patio kick-off party for summer. Find them at 1889 West 25th St.; call 216-298-9090 or visit sohocleveland.com to learn more.
FRESH CHEF: Chef and local foods advocate Parker Bosley is joining the team at Fresh Fork Market, the popular Community Supported Agriculture program that connects farmers and consumers. As chef in residence, Bosley will write blog posts, teach classes, and develop recipes for customers.
"I have wanted to do something like this for quite some time," Bosley explains. "I've followed the work of [founder] Trevor Clatterbuck, and I think the business model he has created is an excellent model for moving locally produced, seasonal food directly from the farm to the consumer. The economic impact of his work in Ohio's farming communities has the potential to restore family farms, to make them economically viable."
Learn more at freshforkmarket.com.
BBQ & BOURBON: Plans for Blitz Barbeque are back on track, says owner Billy "Blitz" Madursky.
The restaurant, which is located in the old I-90 Diner space across from the Beachland Ballroom, had been put on hold due to financing snags. But all systems now are go, and the joint should be open in early June.
The mostly carry-out spot will specialize in slow-smoked pulled pork, baby back ribs, and Jamaican jerk chicken. Also on the menu: barbecued grilled meatloaf, Polish Boys, and a veggie-friendly stir fry. The place will stay open late to catch hungry concertgoers as they leave the Beachland.
"You know how many times I've been to the Beachland and had a couple Maker's Marks and said, 'Man, I could really go for something to eat right now'?" he asks rhetorically. The spot is at 15710 Waterloo Rd.
NEW BURGER BAR: Fadi Daoud, owner of Heck's Café in Ohio City, has come up with a new concept for his now-closed Zdara in the Warehouse District: burgers.
Daoud will open BRGR 9 in the first half of May. On the menu: beef, lamb, chicken, turkey, crab, salmon, and even lobster burgers, griddled and served on house-baked buns. In addition, there will be four versions of French fries, some 20 dips, and milkshakes. Prices will start at around $6.50.
BRGR 9 will be open for lunch, dinner, and late-night dining on weekends. You'll find them at 1382 West Ninth St.